Hello kittens. A couple of posts back I talked about a Big Life Decision I'm working on. Well, this is it. I'm implementing a five year plan to become a Sex Educator. If all goes according to plan, my girlfriend will be joining me and we'll become rich and famous and... Ha! No, not rich and famous, though hopefully we'll be able to pay the bills. What we will be is fulfilled, we hope. Doing work that we are passionate about and that (hopefully) makes a difference.
Throughout my life, I, and many of the people I've known and loved, have been affected by a lack of knowledge and emotional understanding of sex. From people who take sex way too seriously to people who don't take it nearly seriously enough. People who've fallen pregnant or gotten STDs because they don't know enough about safer sex, or don't have the wherewithal to insist on it. People who have been abused or raped, by strangers and by partners. And those are just the people I know. All over our country, young people are growing up with barely a passing knowledge of their own anatomy, and very little information to help them make decisions about what is and isn't acceptable to them. Sex workers, unprotected and looked down upon, are unable to protect themselves from dangerous customers, johns who refuse condoms, or unsterilised needles. Getting an abortion may be legal, but it's not exactly easy, and every street corner offers 'cheap abortion', with an advert for illegal 'virility pills' right next to it.
We are not good at talking about sex in our country. We are really not good at being sex positive and treating sex and discussion of sexuality as healthy, important parts of life. We have very few sex educators, and they struggle to have their voices heard. Dr Eve, Catriona Boffard, Dorothy Black and some other very strong people have worked hard, and respect is due. But there's a loooong way to go.
Step 1, for me? Educate myself. I work in a sex shop, so that helps. I have access to books, and toys, and I spend a large part of my day talking to people about what they need from sex. I'm also privileged to know or have access to wonderful people from the LGBTI, poly and kink communities, who constantly educate me and others. Those of you who watched the recent SABC doccie on poly will know that the marvelous Avri Spilka spoke eloquently about emphasising safer sex. I continue to learn from her and many other amazing teachers and friends.
Educating myself includes expanding my own sexual horizons. I don't believe that I need to do everything in order to understand or talk about it, but I do need to try all the stuff on my bucket list. Butt plugs are featuring this week. I got a super-cute one yesterday. Nope, I've never used a butt plug. I'll let you know how it goes. (wink) I'll also be attending workshops and, hopefully soon, courses on counselling. (And yes, if you have any excellent suggestions, comment away kittens.)
Being poly doesn't make me awesome at sex. I may never be awesome at sex. But I'm going to work damn hard at being an awesome advocate for sex positivity, in my life and in my work, and at being the best I can be as a sex and sexuality educator. And I'm pretty sure I'm going to love this journey.
Next up, I'll be reviewing two BIG books on sex that I've just laid hands on... with extra commentary from my teens as to which is most useful from their perspective.